By J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS
The Florida Secretary of State has discovered 53,000 dead voters registered to vote. The Secretary of State has also flagged thousands of potential non-citizens who are also registered to vote. This discovery is indicative of a wider national problem with dead and ineligible voters on the rolls heading into the Presidential election.
In the 2012 legislative session, Florida finally passed a law requiring the use of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) to determine if dead people are registered to vote in Florida. Secretary of State Kurt Browning and then-State Election Director Don Palmer proposed this idea in the previous legislative session, but the bill did not pass.
Florida discovered the dead voters by matching voter rolls against the SSDI.
The SSDI is the list of Americans who have died and applied for death benefits. Because an application must be submitted by the next of kin and carries criminal penalties for false statements, it is considered the most accurate list of dead voters available.
Yet most states don’t use the SSDI. Instead, they use a hodge-podge of other information, usually compiled from the state bureaus of vital statistics. But state bureau reporting is slow and incomplete.
Three counties in Florida have reported more citizens registered to vote than people alive eligible to vote – St. Johns, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa – according to the most recent Election Assistance Commission report.
Having dead people infesting the rolls is the first step to voter impersonation.
Federal law requires states to have a reasonable voter list maintenance program and gives the Eric Holder Justice Department the power to sue states that don’t. Not surprisingly, Holder’s DOJ has not brought a single case under the law to require states to clean up corrupted voter rolls. Indeed, when I served at the DOJ Voting Section, an announcement was made in November 2009 that this provision of the law would not be enforced. The political leadership was philosophically opposed to the law, and they said so.
Make no mistake, the problem of corrupted voter rolls is not confined to Florida. It extends to New Mexico, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and other states. Judicial Watch has notified various states they are in violation of the law and will be filing lawsuits to force the sort of clean-up that Florida has now started.
Many resist cleaning up the voter rolls as directed by the Secretary of State. Brenda Snipes, the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) is one.
“I’m feeling really uncomfortable about this,” Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told officials with the state’s Division of Elections.
With the election just months away, the time for removing ineligible voters is now. Unfortunately, millions are on the rolls across the nation, and election officials from the DOJ to local offices are reluctant to act.